25 May 2011

New Caledonia renews Forum membership bid

3:17 pm on 25 May 2011

New Caledonia has continued lobbying for full membership of the Pacific Islands Forum, after becoming an associate member in 2006.

The New Caledonian Minister for the Economy, Anthony Lecren, has told Matangi Tonga Online that his delegation raised the matter at last week's Forum Trade Ministers Meeting in Vava'u.

Mr Lecren says New Caledonia has a new government that is keen to move towards full Forum membership, adding that ahead of this year's summit in Auckland the response from Forum members has been positive.

He says it is very important because of trade and economic integration in the region and also because New Caledonia is part of the Melanesian region that has historical ties with Polynesian countries like Tonga.

A first bid for full membership was formulated by the former French President Jacques Chirac in 2003.